The vast majority of existing homes sold in the U.S. need one or two things to be patched up, with 86% of all home inspections turning up some kind of problem, according to a study by the home improvement website Porch.com.
The average home inspection can cost from $300 to $500 depending on where the home is and how big it is, but Porch.com’s study indicates that this is an investment that will save the average buyer around $14,000 in renovation costs.
A home inspection involves assessing the condition of things such as the roof, ceilings, walls, floors, foundations, windows, doors, major appliances, heating and air conditioning, plumbing and electrical systems. Most real estate agents agree that it’s essential their clients pay for a home inspection to ensure the home they’re buying is on a solid footing and won’t cause them headaches later.
But worryingly, the low inventory of existing homes for sale today has led to intense competition among buyers, and many are faced with bidding wars and have to offer well above a home’s listing price to clinch the deal. Besides making a higher offer, some buyers are also waiving the home inspection to make their offer stand out. Redfin said last year that almost 20% of the offers submitted by its agents waived the inspection contingency.
Any buyer who makes that decision needs to be aware of the risk, and just as importantly, the most common issues that home inspections can turn up.
Porch.com’s study shows that just over 19% of home inspections uncover problems with the roof. Home inspectors typically check roofs for things such as leaks, venting, the material condition, proper installation and any other visible issues. Any roofing damages are then handled by a professional roofing contractor. If there are damages in the sewer lines, the seller must take care of them by hiring a sewer line repair company.
Another common problem is issues with the electrical wiring, which turn up in 18% of all inspections. The most common electrical issues are reversed polarity, frayed insulation, DIY wiring, over-fusing, and mismatched wiring. About 51,000 fires each year are caused in homes by improper electrical wiring.
Another 18% of inspections discover problems with windows that can hamper energy efficiency and cause issues with indoor air quality, Porch.com said.
In addition, Porch.com said almost 17% of inspections turn up issues with gutters, 14% discover problems with the plumbing, and more than 12% find issues with the water heating system and air conditioning.